IPL 2020 Team of the week (October 26-November 1)

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 2 November, 2020, 6:05 PM IST

Even after 54 matches in IPL 2020, the race for the play-offs berth is very much open. Following the conclusion of Sunday’s double-header, only Mumbai Indians were assured of a place in the play-offs. Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals’ respective defeats knocked them out of IPL 2020, joining Chennai Super Kings. Further, KKR’s impressive triumph over RR kept their hopes alive.

It is clear now that the winner of RCB vs DC contest on Monday will finish second as they will move up to 16 points. The loser will have to compete with KKR (14 points) and SRH, in case they beat MI in their last league game and also finish on 14 points, for the other two playoff spots. Meanwhile, we look back at super performances in IPL 2020 during the week October 26-November 1, which has kept the suspense element very much alive.

Openers: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Wriddhiman Saha (wk)

The young CSK opener ended last week with a fifty and added a couple more this week as well. He was the man of the match for his 53-ball 72 against KKR, and signed off with an unbeaten 62 from 49 against Punjab, completing a hat-trick of the man of the match awards as well.

Gaikwad’s opening partner and the team’s wicket-keeper will be Wriddhiman Saha. The little dynamite smashed 87 from 45 following SRH’s surprise move to ask him to open against Delhi. He chipped in with 39 in the victory over RCB as well.

Middle-order: Chris Gayle, Suryakumar Yadav, Eoin Morgan (captain)

Universe Boss Chris Gayle finds himself at number three following his stupendous 99 from 63 against RR, featuring eight sixes, even as the knock came in a losing cause. Suryakumar Yadav’s unbeaten 79 from 43 in a tense clash against RCB narrowly piped another Mumbai batsman Ishan Kishan’s 72 not out from 47 in a one-sided contest against Delhi. KKR skipper Eoin Morgan completes the middle-order, and will also lead the side. Morgan made 40 from 25 to kick off the week against KXIP and ended it with a game-changing 68 not out from 35, with the aid of six sixes, to keep KKR alive in IPL 2020.

All-rounders: Ben Stokes, Jason Holder

Ben Stokes fills up one of the all-rounder’s slots courtesy his brilliant show with bat and ball against KXIP. After claiming 2 for 32 with the ball, he blasted 50 from 26 to overshadow Gayle’s 99. Jason Holder’s sublime effort of 2 for 27 and a blazing 26 not out from 10 against RCB helped him stave off stiff competition from CSK’s Ravindra Jadeja.

Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Sandeep Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Rashid Khan

MI lead pacer will spearhead the bowling attack on the back of two stupendous performances. He claimed 3 for 14 and 3 for 17 in the triumphs over RCB and DC respectively.

Unassuming SRH pacer Sandeep Sharma also finds a spot in the sun with impressive figures of 2 for 27 against Delhi and 2 for 20 against RCB. CSK fast bowler Lungi Ngidi overcame stiff competition from Jofra Archer and Trent Boult to complete the pace bowling trio.

Ngidi picked up 2 for 34 against KKR and 3 for 39 against KXIP, dismissing big names in both games. It was a tense fight between Varun Chakravarthy and Rashid Khan for the spinner’s slot, but the latter narrowly won the race of the back of his sensational 3 for 7 against Delhi, who possess one of the strongest batting line-ups on paper.

(Note: The four foreign player limit has been relaxed here, and only performances have been taken into consideration)

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Watch: Irfan Pathan introduces fans to his adorable coach in quarantine

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 5:36 PM IST

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan took to Twitter on Tuesday introduced his fans to his new coronavirus quarantine cricket coach, and it was none other than his son, Imran Khan Pathan.

Irfan is married to Model and Journalist, Safa Baig, and the couple's son Imran was born in 2016. Irfan posted the video on Twitter, and captioned it as, "Meet my new quarantine coach... nice try daddy #cricket #love #fatherson".

Here's the video:

In the video, Irfan's son can be seen bowling to the all-rounder. After a certain delivery, Imran says, "Nice try daddy", which leads to Irfan laughing in a quirky manner.

Irfan represented India across all three formats. He was a part of India's 2007 T20 WC winning team, as well as the 2013 Champions Trophy winning side. He had announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in January 2020.

The all-rounder is currently in Sri Lanka for the inaugural edition of the Lankan Premier League (LPL). He along with Munaf Patel will play for the Kandy Tuskers. The franchise is owned by Bollywood actor Salman Khan's brother, Sohail Khan.

Ruturaj Gaikwad reacts to MS Dhoni's 'no spark in youngsters' comment during IPL 2020

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 4:52 PM IST

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni had to face the heat from fans and the cricketing fraternity after his 'no spark' comment for the youngsters in the side during the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

Dhoni's comments came after CSK lost their 7th game of the season against Rajasthan Royals (RR). CSK experienced an abysmal campaign in IPL 2020 as they failed to make it to the playoffs for the first time in the tournament's history. The franchise finished at the seventh spot on the points table after managing only 12 points from 14 games.

While the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman disappointed throughout the season, youngsters weren't given many chances, initially. However, towards the backend of the season, young batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad impressed with his willow.

After managing just 5 runs from his first three innings, Ruturaj went on to notch up three back-to-back half-centuries to finish the season with 204 runs from six games and cement his spot in the side as an opener for IPL 2021.

Recently, Gaikwad was questioned about Dhoni's 'no spark' comments for the youngsters in the CSK side. Interestingly, he was dismissed for a duck in the game against RR. However, the youngster said he never read too much into his captain's comment and it never got into his head, as many had speculated.

“I didn’t read much into what MS (Dhoni) had said and I never felt he intended that way. He must have thought of something and said, but people took it the other way."

"What he said didn’t matter to me or didn’t even get to my head. At nets, he would advise me regarding my batting and on top of that, he has always liked my batting," he told the Telegraph.

Gaikwad also revealed that Dhoni has always liked his batting and would keep advising him in the nets to not worry too much about the results and get the process right.

“At nets, MS used to tell me, ‘just make sure your process is right and don’t worry about the results.’ I just followed that,” he added.

Netizens react as Shikhar Dhawan gives a sneak-peek into new 'retro' jersey for Australia series

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 4:24 PM IST

Team India has always sported jerseys which have become a huge hit among their ardent fans and followers. Among them, the jersey sported by players during 1992 has a great recall value among fans even in the modern era.

Earlier, it was reported that Team India is set to turn the clock back and go retro against Australia, by wearing a jersey similar to the one sported during the 1992 WC. Ahead of the three-match ODI series Down Under, veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan gave a sneak-peek of the jersey.

Dhawan on Tuesday took to Twitter and posted a photo and captioned it: "New jersey, renewed motivation. Ready to go."

After Dhawan gave a sneak-peek of the jersey, a plethora of Twitter users flooded the micro-blogging site with mixed reactions. Here are some of the reactions:

Earlier, the BCCI had announced Mobile Premier League (MPL) Sports as the team's official apparel sponsor after the deal with Nike ended earlier this year.

MS Dhoni's mentor Deobrat 'Deval' Sahay passes away in Ranchi after prolonged illness

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 3:18 PM IST

Deval Sahay, mentor of former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, passed away due to multi-organ failure in the early hours of Tuesday in a hospital in the Jharkhand capital. He was 73 and is survived by his wife, a daughter, and a son.

Sahay, who is also credited with preparing the first turf pitches in Ranchi, was admitted to a hospital due to breathing problems and was laid low by a coronavirus. He was discharged from the hospital on October 9.

"After spending about 10 days at home, he was again admitted to a hospital when he developed complications. And today at around 3 a.m. he passed away," Sahay's son Abhinav Akash was quoted as saying by IANS.

Sahay's funeral will take place at around 1 pm in Ranchi. His daughter Meenakshi, who lives in the USA, is in Ranchi these days.

Sahay, an electrical engineer, was instrumental in preparing first turf pitches in Ranchi, first at MECON, where he was the Chief Engineer, and then at Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), from where he retired as Director (Personnel). MS Dhoni's father, Pan Singh Dhoni, also worked at MECON.

While Sahay was at CCL, hired a young Dhoni on stipend and provided him the first opportunity to play on turf pitches. His role has been portrayed by actor Kumud Mishra in Dhoni's biopic, 'M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story'.

Sachin Tendulkar comes up with a piece of advice for Indian pacers to tackle Steve Smith

Vedant Yadav Updated: 24 November, 2020, 2:39 PM IST

Former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar has urged the Indian bowlers to target "fifth stump" against Steve Smith as his unconventional batting style will warrant a slightly wider line. He had missed the last India-Australia series Down Under due to a ball-tampering ban and will be eager to make his presence felt.

Smith has always performed against India and has six hundreds and a 92, a statistic that cannot be taken lightly.

"(Steve) Smith's technique is unconventional...Normally, we tell a bowler in Test matches to bowl on and around off-stump or maybe fourth stump line. But for Smith, because he shuffles a lot, maybe that line (of delivery) moves further away by four to five inches," Tendulkar was quoted as saying by PTI.

"One has to aim between (imaginary) fourth and fifth stump for Steve to nick one. It's just a mental adjustment of line, more than anything else," the former captain said.

"Smith, I read, said he's ready for the short-pitched stuff...probably he is expecting bowlers to be aggressive up front with him. But I think he needs to be tested on and around that off-stump channel. Keep him on the back-foot and induce that early mistake," he added.

One being asked whether the in-swinging yorkers won't do the trick against Smith, Tendulkar said that depends on whether the ball swings much or not.

"For that to happen, you have to see how much the ball is swinging. All those things matter. You can't use saliva, so it's a different case if wickets have a lot more life. In England during the Test matches, on occasions, the Dukes wouldn't be swinging much," he replied

"I don't know if they will have greenish wickets for the ball to do a little bit. If the ball doesn't swing. That swinging yorker, you might not even see."

Sachin, while praising India's potent bowling line-up, advised the management to look for a defensive bowler.

"As I have always said, we have one of the best and most balanced bowling attacks India has ever had. Eventually, you have to pick 20 wickets to win Test matches. But 20 wickets shouldn't be too expensive either," he further added.

"...along with our attacking bowlers, we should also identify bowlers who can hold one end up on unresponsive pitches, bowl those continuous maiden overs to build the pressure."